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PhD alumnus Dr Daniel Rio Tinto has been appointed as Nuclear Security Fellow at FGV-SP in Brazil. He will be working on a project on the impact of armed violence and criminal activities in the nuclear security challenges and policies, particularly looking at the Brazilian context.

Funded by the Stanton Foundation, Dr Rio Tinto will explore the security of nuclear weapons, nuclear installations, materials and technologies in the context of civil unrest and high levels of general insecurity due to high risk of non-state sanctioned armed violence – including insurgents and terrorists but also those engaging in organised crime/black markets. He develop the conceptual part of the project and collecting data for the Brazilian case studies. He will focus on trying to understand how the threat by organised crime (in both its political and non-political violence dimensions) is perceived and acted upon by relevant actors – the Government, the military, law enforcement agencies, and civil defence/safety agencies, Eletrobrás, Indústrias Nucleares Brasileiras and the Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear. In addition, he will trace the process through which the occurrence of security breaches has led to the adoption of changes in existing security policies.

This research will increase knowledge about the Brazilian Nuclear programme and will inform the level of policy engagement by the relevant authorities towards securing nuclear facilities vis-à-vis the widespread threat of organised crime and associated armed violence. It will increase transparency within the Brazilian civil society, serving to inform the general population, and has the potential to serve as an auditing tool to examine best practice in terms of nuclear security plans. It is hoped this will be part of a wider project in development that explores various dimensions of interaction between nuclear weapons/nuclear technologies and internal armed conflict.

Dr Rio Tinto graduated with his PhD from the University of Birmingham in December 2017. His thesis, ‘Tracing the Security Dilemma in Civil Wars: how fear and insecurity can lead to intra-state violence?’ was supervised by Prof Nicholas Wheeler and Prof Stefan Wolff.